Communication - teaching all babies to sign

I was interested to read of teaching sign language to infants and toddlers. Simplified signing can help you communicate with your child from a very stage, even before they are able to speak. This will eliminate so much frustrations especially for your child as they will be able to let you know what their needs are let alone other such concepts such as thoughts and feelings. Signing most naturally starts with feeding. You can teach the sign for milk, food, sleep, etc. By this improved communication you go a long way to improve communication with your child resulting in less tantrums brought on by misunderstandings as well as develop self esteem and improve visual awareness.

It is not a new concept and Makaton, a simplistic communication tool that includes sign language was developed for people who have language or speech disabilities; it is often used in intellectual or developmental disability  areas.

Most of you reading this wont know that I was born deaf. I had something like 20% hearing in both ears (I can't hear high pitched sounds such as consonants in the alphabet ie S, T, X etc. Thus I can't hear most birds, plastic, cellophane, a waterfall etc. I do hear some deep base sounds.

An audiogram (not mine)

Until recently I had never used a hearing aid or any sort. Hearing aids were never suitable for my type of hearing loss until about 4 years ago and for the same reason , I believed that a cochlear wouldn't be of much help either. I am thankful that my mother insisted that I learn to cope in a hearing world without resorting to sign language by forcing me to lipread and being extra vigilant to other pointers in communication such as observing body language etc. I attended regular schools and classes. I didn't even learn to sign until around 20 years ago when I met a deaf lady who couldn't lip read. Sometime later I suspected she had more hearing than I, yet she couldn't manage well without sign language unless there was an interpreter, I suspect a part of the reason is that she had support via special classes etc whilst growing up.

So with this background I was interested to read of teaching sign language to infants and toddlers.

Teaching Baby sign for food/eat

Perseverance pays off

"I almost gave up on it," one mother said of  baby sign language. "You really have to put in a lot of time up front. But the first day they did the sign for milk, I was bouncing off the walls excited. From there we went forward quite quickly. Always when teaching her new signs and by reading her signs I spoke the words too, so that by 9 months old, she was displaying signs for commonly used words every time she spoke the words aloud." Her child is now 2 and signs between 10 and 15 words on a regular basis. "It takes a lot of repetition," she said, "but I'm so glad I put in the effort because it has really paid off."
Although they are now developing speech, their favorite words to sign, she said, include "more," "outside," "bath," "food," "finished" and "daddy."


You want to learn more?

To find out more about teaching sign language to infants and toddlers and for a chart of common signs and their meanings, visit Baby Signs Australia is another site where there are books, courses and videos to enable you to find out more about it.


  1. have fun - keep it light - no pressure
  2. repeat, repeat, repeat - remember - no pressure - you just keep repeating it to them - when they are ready, they will duplicate it eventually! (And what a wonderful day that is!)
  3. encourage all attempts at signs - again, no pressure - don't be surprised if you have your own sign language but try to encourage the correct one where possible
  4. expand your vocabulary, start with the most important: mum, dad, milk, and go from there as the child's world expands


Make sure to always say the words and encourage them to both sign and speak as soon as they are able to start making sounds. You do not want to have the advantages of signing at the expense of speech development.

Twirly gathered skirt

I made a lovely gathered skirt for my eldest grand daughter, Miriam. She loves to wear skirts and she loves to dance, so it just seemed very appropriate to make her a skirt that spun out as she twirled about in her play.

Basically I followed Elizabeth's tutorial here to make this for 3 year old Miriam. My one major difference is that I doubled the length of each tier, so that when it was finished it would flare out like a circular skirt.
Here are the exact measurements I used for Miriam's skirt. In hind sight the top tier would have been nicer had it been fuller.

Top tier-- 10cm (4 inches) by 75cm (29 inches)
Middle tier--10cm (4 inches0 by 150cm (close enough to 60 inches)
Bottom tier-- 14cm (5 1/2 inches) by 300cm (120 inches)
The last tier is a bit longer only because I needed a longer skirt for my grand daughter. The first 2 tiers I tried to make the most of the heart pattern printed on the material.

I chose a fine corduroy material since it is winter and using colours from within the patterns on the material I used lovely colour ribbons as contrast details.
I used the overlocker to trim all the edges.


 Next I sewed the elastic casing

I thought it might be easier if I applied the trims before I did the gathering. However after doing the first two, I decided it wasn't necessarily easier after all and went back to applying the ribbon trim after gathering and sewing it together.

You will see that with the blue ribbon, I thought it would be interesting to add some textural detail by doing some random folds and twists as I went along the 'line'. You can also see that I didn't baste the ribbon but used the pins and pulled them out as I went along with the sewing foot.


With the bottom tier, I turned up the hem and used the sewing of the ribbon to also sew the hem.

So there you have it: one happy dancing little girl.

I have entered this skirt in the Throwback Linky Party here.

An Alli Event

Simply gorgeous ribbon flower hair clips

It is delightful to have grand kids and to be able to make things for them and with them is a bonus that I am thoroughly enjoying.

This week I have made a couple of very simple loopy flower hair clips from ribbons. I am loving how versatile they are. I reckon there will be more to come. I will try some different styles as time and motivation moves me. maybe the nt ones will be fabric flowers or maybe felt or... oh the possibilities are endless.

I have a Pinterest account and have pinned things that interest me and finally I have started to stop just pinning and started to use it to inspire my creativity. I even have one board dedicated to things I would love to make for my grand kids one day here.

Here are the two hairclips I made.

The red one was put together with a hot glue gun. It is quick but I don't think it will last the rigourous handling my granddaughter is likely to give it so for the pink one, I decided to hand stitch it. It did take a little longer but I feel it is much sturdier

Aren't they just so cute. Which one is your favourite.

Here are the direct link for the hair bows I made. There are more links to other hairclips on my pinterest board. Click here to go take a look around and maybe you will be inspired too!

What delightful items have you made for your grand kids?